(Reuters) – A former U.S. Olympic swimmer accused a former coach of the nationwide workforce of sexually abusing her when she was 16, becoming a member of a refrain of younger athletes in gymnastics and different sports activities who’ve come ahead with comparable allegations involving workforce officers.
Ariana Kukors, who represented the United States within the 2012 Olympic Games, stated Sean Hutchison, then a coach for USA Swimming’s nationwide workforce, started “grooming” her for a sexual relationship when she was 13.
“I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten,” Kukors, 28, stated in a press release on Wednesday.
Hutchison, 46, couldn’t be reached for remark.
His swimming membership, the King Aquatic Club in Washington state, stated in a press release that the information “broke our collective hearts.” Hutchison remained a membership govt however had no “direct interaction with our swimmers for a very long time,” the assertion stated.
Kukors, whom the membership described as “part of the King Aquatic family,” stated she first met Hutchison by way of the membership.
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have searched Hutchison’s Seattle residence, a division spokeswoman stated, describing it as an investigation into “alleged online child exploitation,” with out giving additional particulars.
Athletes have denounced U.S. Olympic officers in current weeks as reacting too slowly to studies of sexual abuse. The criticism grew from the emotionally charged sentencing hearings for Larry Nassar, the previous USA Gymnastics workforce physician who pleaded responsible to sexual abuse final yr.
Kukors echoed this criticism.
“Much like the USOC knew about Larry Nassar years before his arrest and did nothing, USA Swimming had notice in 2010 that Sean Hutchison was involved in an inappropriate coach-athlete relationship with Ariana and took no actions to protect her or other swimmers,” her lawyer Robert Allard stated in a press release.
USA Swimming stated in a press release it investigated in 2010 a report that Hutchison and Kukors had a sexual relationship in breach of the group’s code of conduct. Both denied a relationship on the time, and the case was closed.
The governing physique stated it first realized of the allegations of sexual abuse whereas Kukors was a minor for the primary time when she went public this week. The group supported Kukors and was serving to the investigation.
“We stand by her, and all other victims, in their quest to break their silence and confront their horrific experiences,” the assertion stated.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis